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Releasing helium balloons?

(65 Posts)
sweetkitty Mon 22-Jun-20 16:46:52

Our primary school has had a tradition for the past 4/5 years of all the Primary 7s releasing a helium balloon on their last day. This year I had asked if we could not do it due to environmental reasons and showed some photos of injured seabirds and livestock, injured or killed from eating helium balloons plus they don’t degrade. I got totally ignored “my child would be devastated if they don’t get to release a balloon”

It’s 10 seconds and whoosh it’s gone, also it’s costing a fortune as helium has become really hard to source during lockdown so one little balloon is costing £2 just for a child to release into the sky to cause environmental damage.

The parents are organising it out with the school so I can’t complain to the school either. We will not be taking part obviously.

OP’s posts: |
DGRossetti Mon 22-Jun-20 16:59:47

When all the helium is gone, it's gone forever.

If you think MRI scanners are a Good Thing, that alone is reason enough to stop wasting it on balloons.

Mind you, we knew that 30 years ago.

Imagine reading in 2050 that we once had a machine that could find cancer in humans, but decided to have balloons instead ?

SuzetteCrepe Mon 22-Jun-20 17:02:41

I wouldnt want to take part either. Could those parents who agree with you think of alternatives like donating to a charity, painting a balloon picture or making cakes or biscuits in the shape of a balloon.

Pelleas Mon 22-Jun-20 17:03:37

Couldn't agree with you more. They are a menace in every possible way and the government should ban them for the sake of our wildlife.

MyNameisArthur Mon 22-Jun-20 17:06:55

Exactly as DGRossetti says, helium is scarce and running out, and you are right, is really bad for the environment

sweetkitty Mon 22-Jun-20 17:08:02

No other parents have actually stood up and agreed with me. After I had posted that I didn’t want to do it and here are the reasons why I got loads of “my child is looking forward to it and it would ruin it for my child”! It’s 10 seconds and the balloon is gone! You tell your child baby cows have been eating the balloons and die so we don’t release them anymore job done.

OP’s posts: |
Bmidreams Mon 22-Jun-20 17:10:45

This is really backwards of the school. Keep pushing. Ours has an environmental group for the kids, then contradicts it every Xmas.

QuintusEstInHorto Mon 22-Jun-20 17:13:39

Totally agree with you, it's a pet hate if mine and I think they should be banned. Just as. As as those bloody Chinese lanterns.

safariboot Mon 22-Jun-20 17:14:29


Never mind the helium. Releasing balloons is littering. Once people realise that, I'm astonished anyone can find it acceptable.

frillyflamingo Mon 22-Jun-20 17:16:33

@DGRossetti thank you for posting that because I genuinely didn't know MRI relied on helium. I hate anything like this - we are farmers and livestock ingest them. I wish more people would stop releasing litter into the air.

ComeBy Mon 22-Jun-20 17:16:54

I simply don't understand it.

Surely any of these parents would stop their children throwing litter - this is just litter that goes via the sky, and with less control over where it lands.

The school should stop it, and helium balloons should be banned full stop,

However, since you currently stand alone, I think you need to get started on plans for next year. Write to the Head and the Governors (does the school have any environmental / sustainability policies at all? A discipline policy that mentions litter? Any notices about not dropping litter n the playground?) with clear points about helium, litter, danger to wildlife. But also, have some other ideas to mark the occasion.

Maybe MN-ers can help you with those ideas for a different ceremony. Maybe hang lanterns in a tree, or give each child a plant, or put their names in an etched window in the school or have a singer / musician compose a song with all their names in it and perform it at a leaving party,....

You will be heard more openly if you constructively suggest an alternative.

NailsNeedDoing Mon 22-Jun-20 17:17:13

That’s awful. I can’t believe a group of parents would have continued to do such an anti social thing for years as an added extra, when the school probably already has leavers traditions that would be more than enough for the children.

If they’re this set in their ways, I think your only hopes are to persuade the head and Y6 teachers at the school to educate children in what happens with ballon releasing so that they stop wanting to do it, or to offer to arrange something equally as lovely and low effort for the parents.

Unfortunately it’s probably too late for this years Y6 if enough crazy parents actually want to do it, they won’t want their dc to miss out on any more than they already have.

Well done your dc for doing the right thing.

Mrbay Mon 22-Jun-20 17:20:38

I can't share it on here, but not a year goes by where a farmer doesn't have to pull a helium balloon out of a dead calf's mouth!

I don't understand the desire to inflate your litter and let it go?! Same with those lantern things - both sold be banned from sale in my opinion waste of money and resource.

Perhaps notify the council that a local school is planning a mass littering!

isabellerossignol Mon 22-Jun-20 17:21:58

I had the same argument with the PTA at my kids school and was basically told I was a killjoy.

Well, yeah, I can live with that thanks, at least I'm not responsible for choking wildlife.

PenOrPencil Mon 22-Jun-20 17:22:14

I feel your pain! People are just really thick, and their 10 seconds of fun are more important than anything else.
When my dc left primary school I tried to prevent the balloon release twice, both school and the other parents thought I was an insane party pooper.
I have to sit on my hands now as the local Facebook page is full of requests for helium and helium balloons! angry

DGRossetti Mon 22-Jun-20 17:25:18


*@DGRossetti* thank you for posting that because I genuinely didn't know MRI relied on helium. I hate anything like this - we are farmers and livestock ingest them. I wish more people would stop releasing litter into the air.

We may find more reserves - trapped deep underground (so you can imagine the extraction costs ...).

Alternatively we could get a move on and get nuclear fusion working - it would make helium. (Although whether it could be captured is another matter).

Probably a better idea to hang on to what we've got. After all, once it's gone ...

If you really want to do something for your children - and as yet unborn grandchildren - stop wasting helium.

jillandhersprite Mon 22-Jun-20 17:25:26

What age kids? I would engage absolutely with the school - they are bound to have an environmental topic - can they shoehorn this in. Most kids are soppy about animals and the best pressure will be from them to their parents because they don't want farm or wild animals dying because of their own littering...
Both my 7 and 4 year old would quite happily explain to their peers how horrible littering is...

MyGirlDaisy Mon 22-Jun-20 17:25:28

YANBU - can’t believe people still think this is acceptable. Couple of years ago when dog walking I came across quite a few deflated balloons in fields and the woods, always picked them up and took them home to dispose of, so that cows and wildlife wouldn’t eat them or get caught in the strings, haven’t seen any for a while and really hoped it was because people were getting the message.
Adults should be setting an example to their children - feel angry on your behalf!

Aroundtheworldin80moves Mon 22-Jun-20 17:26:51

I would organise a Yr6 litter pick at the same time... There's probably enough environment minded DC hi would join in.

ittakes2 Mon 22-Jun-20 17:28:44

You can’t just release balloons - surely there is an air traffic rish??

ittakes2 Mon 22-Jun-20 17:28:53


eatyourcake Mon 22-Jun-20 17:29:00

It's shocking, and stories like this make me lose hope in humanity sometimes. People are so selfish, aren't they?

The only way they would agree though is if you provide a list of more eco friendly alternatives and a new tradition that will make the kids equally happy! Otherwise the nay sayers will do the balloons no matter what you say sad

They could all blow bubbles together?

Keep pressing, get together with the other parents who were against it as well, and try and get this cancelled/replaced with something else.

iklboo Mon 22-Jun-20 17:29:27

DS is in Y9 now but when he left primary school they all got a packet of wild flower seeds abs scattered them in a special part of the grounds with a little plaque 'x School Leavers - YEAR'.

Jammindoughnut Mon 22-Jun-20 17:31:20

We do have helium free MRI scanners now but I am completely in agreement with you, OP

YouDirtyMare Mon 22-Jun-20 17:34:29

Completely agree with you OP, the damage they do is heartbreaking

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